By Liz Wood 

An impressive season

 


As February wanes, the high school basketball season

winds down. Unfortunately, the Panthers’ season has already ended. This was my first season covering Panther basketball on a regular basis. It has been a real treat to watch and photograph these athletes this season. When I started covering basketball, I told the Lady Panther’s coach Scott Bokelman I knew very little about basketball. The only terms I knew were jump shot, layup and free throw. I had played basketball

growing up, but never as an organized sport, so I knew it was going to be a challenge to

write about the games. Over the season, I learned to

tighten my stories. That was hard, because I wanted to tell the people who were not at the game how hard these athletes played during the game. I realized the people who really mattered were the ones sitting in the stands. Some of them don’t have children in

school any more, but they are there every game cheering for the Panthers. This season, they had a lot

to cheer about.

Even though the Panthers are done for the season, they

have come a long way. Looking through a lens gave me a unique perspective. I may miss the whole picture

sometimes, but I see the smile on Justine Fourman’s

face – always. I swear that girl did not frown once during the season. I witnessed Andrew Oiler’s

disappointment when he tried for a rebound and missed. Seth Harrison’s intensity during a game was – well intense. When an athlete is so focused on saving a ball from going out of bounds that he

hits a wall, there is simply no other word to describe him. Meredith Lincoln’s ability to sink 3-pointers was amazing and Katie Loose was a force to be reckoned with when fighting for possession of the ball.

I expected to see a lot from Jace Berger and I was not

disappointed. He was able to

work his way in against strong defenses and sink the ball. Rodrigo Esobedo impressed the whole news room as I would go through the photos and they would see his blocks. “That can’t be taught,” one of the guys said, “that is talent.” Braxton Schwartzkopf


turned into a contortionist when going in for a bucket.

That kid could make his body twist between defenders

and maneuver in midair. Not only would his body transform, but his face did too as he would make

that extra push to sink the ball. It made for some fantastic photo opportunities.

Cruz Escobedo and Haley Soles were always full of

surprises on the court. They had an uncanny ability to

be where they needed to steal the ball and get it down the court. The Saratoga Panthers

may be done with their season, but they can take pride

in the fact they accomplished their goal – they worked hard. This fan, for one, appreciates all the work they put into the season and can’t wait to see what they do next year.

 

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